Good morning. Or, as they say in Napa Valley, good morning. Adam Scott and Andrew Landry lead at the Safeway Open, but it was a quarterback who stole the show on Thursday. Across the pond, technology got the best of St. Andrews, and the ladies started their engines in Indy.

Paper or plastic?

The Safeway Open has its strongest field in recent memory, and that field delivered on Thursday. Adam Scott and Andrew Landry shot first-round 65s at Silverado Country Club. Five other players are within two shots. Safeway Open Leaderboard

Adam Scott may not have won in the 2018-19 season, but he still had one of the best statistical years of his career. The Australian veteran finished third in Strokes Gained: Total last season yet walked away trophyless. Still, Scott notched nine top-10 finishes, two runner-ups, and two top eights at majors. He turned his best putting performance since 2004 and seems primed for a breakthrough.

2018-19 was not as friendly to Andrew Landry. The 32-year-old Texan struggled for most of the season but did show some flashes toward the end of the year. He placed in the top 20 twice in his last four events on his way to finishing 96th in the FedEx Cup standings. Landry was T-7 at the Safeway Open in 2018, and as long as he avoids rule controversies he should do well this weekend.

Leaderboard notes

  • The story of the day involved none other than Tony Romo. The former NFL quarterback silenced the doubters on Thursday, shooting a first-round 70 in his fourth PGA Tour appearance. Romo beat a combined five players in his previous three events, yet somehow he has positioned himself to make the cut this weekend. All of his strokes gained were on the green during the first round, a formula that rarely leads to continued success. Still, it was an impressive round from the four-time Pro Bowler. If he can piece together another strong round, our friend Brendan Porath’s finances might never recover.
  • One shot back of the leaders is the pair of Francesco Molinari and Matthew NeSmith. The lesser known of the two, NeSmith, earned his way to the PGA Tour via a victory at the Korn Ferry Tour Finals stop in Boise.
  • Cameron Champ, Adam Long, and Korn Ferry graduate Chris Baker sit at T-5, two shots off the pace. Long and Champ both won early during the 2018-2019 seasons and would love to follow that formula to start this year.
  • Bryson DeChambeau, Corey Conners, and Morgan Hoffman are among the others inside the top 10.

American influence

Seventy-eight. That’s how many players broke 70 during the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Justin Walters leads the pack after a 63 at the Old Course, but nearly two dozen players are within three shots. Eleven of the top 22 players shot 66 or better on the Old Course, while just three of the top 22 played their first loop at Carnoustie. Thursday was proof that the Home of Golf struggles to defend against 21st-century equipment technology without the help of Mother Nature. Fortunately, less benign weather is in the forecast for the weekend. Grab some coffee and enjoy the morning coverage.

Other Notables: Tommy Fleetwood (66), Tyrrell Hatton (66), Tony Finau (67), Justin Rose (68), Berry Henson (68), Rory McIlroy (70). Leaderboard

Oh, and Westy made a hole-in-one!

Vroom vroom

No one was going 200 miles per hour at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, but plenty of players got off to fast starts on Thursday. Mi Jung Hur leads after a bogey-free 63 at Brickyard Crossing Golf Club. The 29-year-old South Korean has a two-shot edge on a group of three as they head into the second turn. Enough racing puns? Leaderboard

Quick Hooks

Masters! Now that we have your attention, follow the Asia-Pacific Amateur this weekend to see who earns a birth at Augusta National next spring. Scoring

There is one round to go at Korn Ferry Tour Q-School. Full Scoring plus a third-round recap from Monday Q Info (@acaseofthegolf1).

The Latest

The Uncertain Future of Municipal Golf in Louisville – Guest author Jeff Long reports on how the budget shortfall in Louisville has put several city-owned golf courses, including his beloved Crescent Hill, on the chopping block. 

The Fried Egg Podcast, Episode 156: Robert Crosby, Golf Historian and John Low Biographer

Joining first-time host Garrett Morrison is golf historian Robert Crosby, who is working on a book about the great John Low. Garrett and Bob touch on Bob’s tumultuous college days and his thoughts about the escapist character of golf before delving into his research on the fascinating life and work of John Low. In the early 20th century, Low played an influential role in debates about golf architecture, equipment, and rules. His way of thinking about the game, as Bob eloquently describes, is just as relevant today as it was a century ago. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify.

Shotgun Start: Romo cut watch is on, Casino Tom, and Flashback to the Frys

A Friday episode of the Shotgun Start begins with Brendan’s Romo reckoning. The QB-turned-Skechers pitchman posted a two-under 70 in the first round of the Safeway Open, which puts him safely inside the cut line. Andy and Brendan discuss his day watching Romo hang on with the possibility of $10,000 from a hasty and stupid bet hanging in the balance. Then they move to less stressful matters, like Lee Westwood’s ace, Justin Timberlake’s abominable pace of play, and hickories in play at the Old Course. There’s an update from the other side on the controversial ending to the Mid-Am last week and a brief nod to the Methheads making an appearance in Napa this weekend. FVF Jr. research on Tom Hoge and Scott Brown yields some fascinating intel on their backgrounds and the amusing casino habits of one player when he makes a cut. Flashback Friday closes the episode with a winding road on the careers of Bryce Molder and the PGA Tour’s foremost P.F. Chang’s endorser. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

Pro Shop

Save big money at Menards The Fried Egg! Save 25% on all t-shirts in the store using the code FALL25 at checkout. Code applies to all B. Draddy, “Width and Angles,” “Tree Management,” and Fried Egg logo t-shirts in the store. Shop today!